The Board of Appeals yesterday approved a developer's plans to replace a small junkyard at 1837-1841 Dorchester Ave. with a four-story building with ten apartments and a small space for a business.
Travis Lee told the board he is working with state and city agencies to secure some financing that would let him market all ten units as affordable, to be rented to people making no more than 80% of the Boston area's median income.
Lee added he is also reducing the cost by keeping the units small - 450 square feet for one studio, 550 square feet for three one-bedroom apartments and 650 square feet for six two-bedroom units. The studio, on the ground floor, would be handicap accessible; the remaining units, reached through stairs, would not.
The building will only have three parking spaces, but Lee noted its location a few minutes walk away from the Ashmont Red Line station and the presence of 15 Zipcars stationed in the nearby area.
Lee needed zoning-board approval because the lot is too small under its current zoning for a residential building and because his building would be too tall and too dense and not have enough parking.
The mayor's office and the office of City Councilor Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) supported the proposal, as did the Ashmont Main Street organization. The St. Marks residents association split evenly and issued neither support nor opposition.
Steven Connelly, who is building an 18-unit building with 27 parking spaces across a private way from Lee's lot, opposed the project. He and his attorney said the building is simply too large for its lot and doesn't provide enough parking and said that given the split at St. Marks, the project didn't really have the sort of community support needed to justify variances from the existing zoning.
Connelly added he opposed Lee's proposal to put access to the three-car parking area on the private way, because that is supposed to be an accessway to his project for Boston firefighters. He said if somebody parks on the private way or Lee forgets to shovel the snow, that could cause problems because firefighters might not be able to get to his building in an emergency.
Under questioning from board Chairwoman Christine Araujo, Connelly's attorney, Kevin Cloutier, acknowledged that his building also required zoning variances, but not for the size of the building or lack of parking.